It’s not all about us

it's not all about usIt has become clear to me, over decades, that wedding professionals (including me) have a certain obsession with how we are perceived by brides, grooms, peers, and the rest of the planet. I plead guilty, by example.

In 1977, I co-founded my first DJ entertainment business, Music Man, two months before the release of Saturday Night Fever. With five years of nightclub DJ experience prior to my foray into mobile music, and a superb business partner, Scott Foell. Just seven months later, Music Man moved into an office-warehouse and by the end of the first year, the business was full-time.

In 1977-78, you would be hard-pressed to identify more than 5% of mobile DJ services as full time. It was not uncommon to have a party or wedding guest, ask, “What’s your day job… or What’s your full-time job?”

This was not an unreasonable question, as such a high percentage of mobile DJ’s were part-time. Yet, I took this as an affront, usually responding with some kind of smug response, such as, “I’m not sure I understand the question.”

It would have been easy to deflect the question, and respond, “I’m proud to say that our young enterprise is a full time operation.”

And so it still is true, today. There are many reasons for it, but similar questions-reactions are ever-present. As well, wedding businesses stress out over whether being referred to as a ‘wedding vendor’ is an insulting phrase, preferring ‘wedding professionals’. And within industry categories, there is the push and shove  credibility battle between part-timers and full-timers. Not to be confused with “If I have an industry certification behind my name, I MUST be more competent than you are.”

What wedding and meeting planners think

light bulbSeveral years ago, I co-chaired a small conference. Co-chair, Jodi Harris (SightNSound Events), assembled a panel of DMCs, wedding and event planners. In moderating the panel, Jodi asked a straightforward question about preferences of working with, or recommending (to clients) part-time vs full-time DJs.

Those in attendance, all DJ Entertainers, were dumb struck to hear the consensus comments. The planners weren’t really concerned whether a company was full-time or part-time, large or small. Rather, they were focused, primarily, on the quality and consistency of the work, and availability to respond quickly to client communications.

There was no condescension in their responses, just a matter-of-fact nature. As entertainment professionals, the group had varied opinions of what should be important to planners; mostly, the reaction was stunned disbelief.

My conclusion on this narrow point

All too often, we feel it important to convince others (peers and the public) about our point of view (I plead guilty, again). Remembering even experienced professionals often disagree, it shouldn’t be surprising that the public has its own varied views.

Now, as an industry observer, from my marketing perch, I take a more empathetic view. I try to understand other people’s outlook and reasoning. If warranted, suggest a different view or approach. Having a more informed point of view is only helpful, though, if you don’t overplay your hand (I guess I have to plead guilty to overplaying my hand, too).

The force of ‘being right‘, to the exclusion of all else, may lose the sale or damage a business relationship. If one just did stellar work and supported it with solid marketing and public relations,  the categorization or terminology used to describe a business, would become largely irrelevant.

Don’t you agree? …. And whether you do or don’t, your comments are welcome.

Andy Ebon - wedding marketing expert

Andy Ebon
Wedding Marketing Authority

Education Expert
WEDDING WIRE

Always done it this way

black-bear-breakfast1Black Bear Diner is one of my favorite breakfast places. I had a morning meal there, last Friday. It’s a relatively small chain of restaurants (62 locations) and feels like a local establishment.

Everyone is courteous. Staff members recognize you upon arrival. The waitresses know your ‘usual,’ and refills your coffee cup without being asked. The portions are generous and prices are moderate.

What’s not to like? Well, look closely at the picture. It’s the wimpy, wilted lettuce, underneath the orange slice. Friday, I ordered multi-grain pancakes with strawberries and sugar-free syrup (it’s a diabetic thing). The garnish is a fresh orange slice on a wimpy, slice of wilted lettuce.

I understand a leaf of lettuce with a burger and fries. What is leaf of lettuce doing on the underside of an orange slice, with pancakes? I mean really. It’s incongruous, it’s bizarre. It’s contrary. And it’s not even a fresh, crisp lettuce leaf. It’s wimpy and wilted. I have now taken to asking the waitress-of-the-day (Friday it was Deane) to banish such wimpy, wilted lettuce from my plate.

The truly humorous thing is asking, “So tell me, what’s the history of putting a wimpy, wilted leaf of lettuce under every garnish?” the answer is something akin to “I don’t really know. We’ve always done it this way.”

In this case, the wimpy, wilted lettuce is not going to stop me from patronizing the Black Bear Diner, but it raised a different, perhaps bigger question, in my mind.. What does the “wimpy-wilted-lettuce factor” have to do with Wedding Marketing in your business and mine? What little thing are we doing that annoy prospects and customers and could be changed, simply, without a cost factor or great effort? What are you doing ‘because you’ve always done it that way?’

  • Are you a photographer or videographer who drops your gear, just anywhere, at the reception, without regard to safety or aesthetics?
  • Are you a musician or DJ who is sloppy about taping down wires? Do you use grey duct tape, when black stage tape would make a better appearance?
  • Are you a baker or florist who delivers their creations dressed in a t-shirt and ragged jeans? How about a custom company polo short (with logo), and khakis, instead?
  • Does your website have photos that take 3 minutes to load because they were processed five years ago? Are your testimonials from 1999?
  • Do you do a good job for the client, but seldom properly acknowledge a referral?
  • Do you only call clients and peers to ask for something or to vent? How about calling just to see how they’re doing, and not to ask for anything?

It’s no secret that the wedding industry is highly competitive. Distinguish yourself by doing little things well. What’s your wimpy-wilted-lettuce factor? Identify and fix it. No fanfare.

And another thing… I never mix my soul food with caviar pie! Andy Ebon The Wedding Marketing Blog

PS: If you live in the Western United States, go visit a Black Bear Diner near you. And if you see wimpy, wilted lettuce, point it out. And tell them, Andy from Las Vegas said, “Get it outta here”.

black bear diner

Andy Ebon - wedding marketing expert

Andy Ebon 
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog

 

Plagiarism Flap update: Affordable DJ’s makes changes

plagiarism flapUPDATE: In a report, posted last Friday, The Wedding Marketing Blog reported major plagiarism by a Las Vegas DJ service (AffordableDJsLasVegas.com) of another local Las Vegas DJ service (SightnSound.com).

The offending site owner, Rocco Saruby, responded to Jodi Harris, Owner and CEO of Fun, SightNSound Events by phone, indicating that he had ‘no idea how this happened,‘ instead laying off the blame on his webmaster, Linda Strasberg. 

Harris‘ original complaint to Saruby noted copied phrases and entire lifts adding up to 46% of one of the SightNSound web pages (This data was compiled by CopyScape.com and the original AffordableDJsLasVegas website was backed up, offline, for verification). As well, there were significant copy lifts, plagiarizing the photography page.

The worst offending item was this paragraph, twisting Jodi’s title, CEO of Fun, as CEO and Master of Fun for Saruby. More critically, it hails Saruby as Las Vegas Event Professional of the Year 2010 selected by the Las Vegas Chapter of NACE (National Association of Catering Executives).

Plagiarized copy

Saruby is not, and has not been, a member of Las Vegas NACE. More annoying is the fact that it was Jodi Harris that won this award from Las Vegas NACE. She is the Membership Chair for the chapter.

Harris also informed Saruby’s hosting company, Yola, of the plagiarism.

What has changed since Friday…

Saruby removed the NACE-related paragraph almost immediately. The offending copy reduced from 46% to 39%. Continued edits occurred over the weekend. By this morning, it reduced the questionable copied phrases down to 10%. As of late this afternoon, it was down to 3%.

In a phone conversation with Jodi Harris, she lamented “the lack of solid acknowledgment and apology for the clear copying of her website content, including the reference to an award that was solely hers.” And, while it would just take a little more tweaking to have Saruby’s site be completely original, she said, “I can live with the adjustments made, to date.”

Saruby’s webmaster, Linda Strasberg (whose other career is real estate) contacted both Harris and copied Andy Ebon (The Wedding Marketing Blog) by email, stating the following.

“I have looked at your site.  I notice that you aka as sight & sound are a DJ and http://www.AffordableDJsLasVegas.com is a DJ…as far as you asking me the webmaster to remove words that describe the services provided by AffordableDJsLasVegas…I beg to find out what rights you have to the word dj, live dj, dj entertainment, event services, etc…. FYI:   these are categories this industry is defined by and key words used to be found in search engines…

Dear Yola…please disregard this woman’s request to shut down this site…she is incorrect….please contact me before anyone does something they will regret and is completely unsubstantiated.

Cordially,

Linda Strasberg”

This afternoon, she left me (Andy Ebon) a courteous phone message, telling me that ‘the Friday blog post was unsubstantiated and that I remove/retract my post, immediately.’

I note the following passage from Wikipedia on the topic of copyright.

“Plagiarism on the Internet

Content scraping is a phenomenon of copying and pasting material from Internet websites, affecting both established sites and blogs.

Free online tools are becoming available to help identify plagiarism, and there is a range of approaches that attempt to limit online copying, such as disabling right clicking and placing warning banners regarding copyrights on web pages. Instances of plagiarism that involve copyright violation may be addressed by the rightful content owners sending a DMCA removal notice to the offending site-owner, or to the ISP that is hosting the offending site.

Plagiarism is not only the mere copying of text, but also the presentation of another’s ideas as one’s own, regardless of the specific words or constructs used to express that idea. In contrast, many so-called plagiarism detection services can only detect blatant word-for-word copies of text.”

OPINION OF THE WEDDING MARKETING BLOG: It is my considered opinion that the Affordable DJs clearly plagiarized content from SightNSound.com, as documented in this blog, with further back-up documentation of the entire site, stored, offline. It is good to see that, when prompted, Saruby took action to facilitate deletions from, and changes to, his website.

Amazingly though, the AffordableDJsLasVegas.com still showcases this uncredited photo (as of Monday, 6pm, PDT). It is the signature, cover photo from Peter Merry’s book, The Best Wedding Reception Ever

plagiarism flap

Wonder what Peter will have to say about that?

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog

Why it pays to have your pocket video camera close at hand

Wedding Marketing Blog devotee, Jodi Harris, bought a Flip Video camera, last October, after hearing my presentation at the Wedding MBA.

Since then she has been madly documenting client testimonials, scripting her own mini-video invitation, and much more. She has set up a company YouTube Channel as a central point for all this excitement, and it has been serving her well.

The ‘much more’ part of her video collection includes this recent clip of an Elvis impersonator she booked, as add-on entertainment, for a recent wedding reception. Her company Sight’n’Sound Events provides DJ, Photography, and Videography service, and also books live entertainment. This quick clip is simply a great example of what you can capture and reuse, if you’re ready for the moment.